The first XFL game of the season is over, and the DC Defenders claimed a 31-19 victory over the Seattle Dragons in the league’s 2020 debut on Saturday. DC opened as a touchdown favorite and closed as a 9.5-point favorite, with the point total closing at 51.5 at game time. DC covered thanks to a fourth quarter pick six, and a late Seattle fumble prevented the game from going over the point total.
There was plenty of excitement surrounding the XFL’s return, and now we have an idea about what we can expect. Here’s what we took away from the first game of the season.
Cardale Jones is off to a strong start
Jones didn’t throw for a score in the first half, but totaled two touchdown passes in the third quarter to help the Defenders pull out front. While he didn’t put up eye-popping numbers with his legs, his strategic scrambles helped his team get solid field position. That led to field goal opportunities on more than one occasion. He finished with 291 passing yards and 29 rushing yards.
Brandon Silvers had some shaky decision making
Silvers and the Dragons surprisingly held a narrow lead at the half, but things started going downhill as the game went on. He misread the opposition’s coverage a couple times and had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in his XFL debut. He threw three touchdown passes, but his mistakes cost his team the game. B.J. Daniels is Seattle’s only other quarterback on its roster, and he got some limited burn in the closing minutes of the contest after Silvers suffered an injury. He could see the field earlier next week if Silvers continues to struggle.
Both sides had questionable secondaries
Neither side had gaudy passing numbers, but the lack of organization in the secondary was obvious throughout the game. Some good throws were mad here and there, but defensive backs were blowing coverages left and right on scoring plays. It isn’t hard to see that these teams haven’t been together for long.
This will be a scoring league
The over/unders for XFL games this weekend are all hovering around 50, and this game nearly hit its over of 51.5 despite a slow start. This is only the beginning, and players are still getting in football shape. The accelerated play clock and modifications on kickoffs and extra points favor offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some higher scoring numbers while teams tighten things up. The sample size is small, but the rest of the weekend’s games will give us a better idea on what to expect.